Aug 17

Brother Mad / Guidance Counselor Notes

By Ash Goedker

Brother Mad

Brother the loose change
I save in pickle jars.
Brother as crawling the stairs
nights exhausted.
Brother running too fast
for the wheels on the bus
go round and round.
Brother I call Ernie
long head, fat lips, big fish
bowl of a laugh.
Brother geek.
Brother cool
begs to play
another game
of ghost
in the graveyard.

Brother sick
to his knees
sometimes in gutters.
Brother god.

of sisters and brothers
and brother
torrents lungs
and a dismantled city

I don’t know
how to save brother.

Brother blink
full ash
of forest gulped
in fire.

Brother bug
gone dry
and skeletal.

Brother mad
asleep and faking
death like a rabbit
belly out

I’m about to skin
to save you

yes, I have scrubbed
a skull with a toothbrush
Brother, and I was wrong
about the melody it makes –

there’s echo
and throb
in the final key
come back.

Guidance Counselor Notes

The fifth graders are dissecting hearts next
door; they’ve begun to steady, forget
their corn, mothers, their belief in brass.

This week kids fall like softened
blackberries and stare like stains, fixed
even after rain. What they’ve grazed shattered:

Valves are not built like rafters.
More like spider webs, a quiet,

steady roar. They are pumping the Mississippi,
this time with formaldehyde. I heard
a girl burst, say the heart

is a pitted cherry – is tailored, and still
every thing is magic. Their fingers
grow, for some full pulse and branch.





Ash is from the Upper Midwest and is currently an MFA candidate in poetry at the University of Idaho where she is also the Poetry Editor at Fugue. Her poems have been published in Velvet Tail, Up the Staircase Quarterly, Innistree Poetry Journal and has poems forthcoming in Merrimack Review. Ash has a number of obsessions besides poems, and they can be whittled down to a very simple list: lakes and cheese.


Art: “Fourth Wall” by Featured Artist Roger Leege

Roger Leege started out as a painter, printmaker and analog photographer, earning BA and MA degrees in Visual Arts from Goddard College. During post-grad university study in computer science, he was an early adopter and evangelist for digital art and artists’ tools. With gallery, print, and online publishing credits in the US, Canada, and the United Kingdom, he especially enjoys working with writers and the “literate” press. His portfolios are located at